- Free Agency
With files from BlueBombers.com
WINNIPEG — After their economy soared in 2011, the small suburb known as Swaggerville just might be accepting new residents.
While it may be hard to image there being even more swag in the Winnipeg defensive backfield, Bombers training camp has been proving otherwise.
Several new recruits have been catching the eye of defensive coordinator Tim Burke, a man known for his stingy and relentless defences.
“We do have a veteran group in the secondary, and they are pretty good. But we’re always trying to improve, and you’re always trying to get somebody who might make you a little bit better,” said Burke at Bombers training camp in Winnipeg.
“We have four guys who have come in as corners and half backs that are competing against a very good offence and are all competing for a position,” he added.
The ‘four guys’ Burke is referring to are cornerbacks Demond Washington and David Pender, as well as half backs Jeremy McGee and Darrell Pasco, who spent the majority of the season on the practice roster.
Burke believes that if need be, the team will gladly make room for any of the aforementioned four.
“They’re really doing a great job; they’re all cover tight guys. They really fit into our scheme, guys who can play more than just one coverage,” said Burke.
“I’m impressed with everybody.”
Of the four hopefuls, Pasco may have the inside track. Last season, the suited up for the team’s final game of the regular season against Calgary, registering one special teams tackle.
He also dressed for the 99th Grey Cup, notching another two tackles on special teams.
Despite the fact that there were several departures on defence during the off-season, Pasco knows that his know-how of the system means nothing unless he performs.
“They were all great guys,” said Pasco of his former teammates.
“It’s hard to really let those guys go, but at the same time, I’m trying to earn a position here,” he added.
Regardless of what the future may hold for Pasco, the Bombers defence will aim to carry its momentum from 2011 over to the new campaign.
With Odell Wills in Saskatchewan and Doug Brown enjoying retirement, the Bombers will be looking for new leaders to anchor the defensive ship.
Look towards reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player Jovon Johnson to take over that role.
Johnson will headline a strong group of defensive backs, including Alex Suber, Jonathan Hefney and Canadian safety Ian Logan. If not already, the four will assume the leadership roles left void by Willis and Brown.
But will it be enough to lead the Bombers to another Grey Cup appearance?